ALTOS – Pineapple, Blueberries, Hazelnuts and melted Chocolate
Producer: Mauricio Vindas
Origin: Tarrazu, Costa Rica
Processing: Semi Carbonic Maceration
Harvested: March 2020
Roaster: La Cabra
Roast Date: 07.12.2020
The iconic Altos is back.
A Coffee which is hard to forget. During our tiny pop-up in St.Pauli we've brewed the very first grams from the farm of Mauricio. Back then, Esben has just visited him together with Mikkel and made a beautiful short movie about it called 'Brightness'.
It has become a coffee that we look forward to year after year. Clear notes of roasted hazelnuts and melted chocolate are always present from the origin of Mauricio's farm in Tarrazu, Cost Rica. While the natural processing adds perfect sweet blueberry notes and makes such a beautiful classic Costa Rican cup.
Last year the harvest didn't turned out so strong and we have sit together at tōrnqvist with Esben to have an open discussion on the difficulties of direct trade and that the strong and difficult position of the end consumer in that chain.
This year the harvest improved and Mauricio has tried several processing methods to his lots. The most exciting, complex and sweet one is this lot, the Semi Carbonic Maceration processed lot.
You will find the familiar fermented notes of blueberries while the SCM processing adds a beautiful tropical note of crisp Pineapples to it that is often to be found through that very processing method.
We love it.
We first met Mauricio by chance. In March 2014 we were in Tarrazu, travelling around farms as guests of Exclusive Coffees, an exporter based in the region. After the last farm visit, our driver had to make a quick errand to see a friend, whose child had broken his hip and couldn’t leave home. The driver dropped off a gift for the boy, while we made some conversation with his father. He was also a coffee farmer, he told us stories of his passion for coffee production and of how his son wanted to become a barista. The next day we asked the staff at Exclusive about Mauricio, and were able to cup his coffees. Some of the cleanest naturals we had ever tasted shone on the table, along with clean and crisp honey-processed coffees. We visited Altos again the next day, and bought our first couple of bags. The coffee was so well received back in Denmark that we returned to Costa Rica the next year to visit Mauricio and buy more coffee. This is now our seventh year buying coffees from Mauricio. Having built a relationship over several years, we have discovered a shared interest in pushing the boundaries of how his coffee can taste. This coffee is very special to the team here at La Cabra, we always await its arrival with baited breath, eager to taste the fruits of this year’s harvest. The hard work and dedication shown by Mauricio at every stage of coffee production is obvious in the cup, and we are proud to showcase his work to so many of those who truly appreciate it.
The Carbonic Maceration process has been used in the wine industry for several decades, particularly in the Beaujolais region, producing fruit-driven, juicy structured wines in a very controlled manner. The application of this process in coffee is only a few years old, but has the same goals. Carbonic Maceration is a complex process, requiring precise measurement and control of fermentation variables. Cherries are sealed in tanks without access to oxygen for an extended period with constant monitoring and cataloging of PH, temperature, and CO2 levels. Ambient temperatures are also monitored and controlled to ensure linearity in the processing. After the required time inside the tanks, or when the required pH is reached, coffee is then removed and dried, most often on raised beds or in mechanical driers. This is the second year we have experimented with Carbonic Maceration together with Mauricio, and the results are just as wild and rich as last year, with ripe fruit driving the cup.
Altos del Abejonal sits at 1800 metres above sea level in the Tarrazu region, only 70 kilometres south of the Costa Rican capital San Jose. The Talamanca Sierra runs through the region, with peaks of above 3000 masl. The farm is also close to the regional capital of San Marcos, which sits at 1350 masl and is home to 9000 people, providing the hub to an area famous for its high quality coffee production. The volcanic soil and afternoon cloud cover in the region provides the perfect conditions for Mauricio to produce excellent coffees at Altos.